I wish I could say that my story has a deeply romantic, truly meaningful beginning, middle and end. But it doesn’t.
November 30, 2011– I tested negative for HIV via a blood test. And my life continued.
December 18, 2011– I had intercourse with someone who believed they were negative and there was 5 minutes that a condom wasn’t used. (Not to gross you out girls, but neither of us even “finished)
And my life continued.
January 2, 2012– I developed a fever and flu-like symptoms. After going to the corner urgent care, I was instructed that I need to be tested for Acute HIV Infection. My heart stopped and my life seemed to end.
January 9, 2012– I did a blood test for HIV.
January 13, 2012– I did a confirmation test for HIV.
January 24, 2012– I received the information and result that I was infected with HIV-1.
January 24, 2012– I flew home to tell my mom, stepdad, father, stepmom, & sister that I had been infected with HIV.
January 25, 2012– I called the person that I believed was positive and didn’t know it yet. (Hard call to make)
January 27, 2012– That person was confirmed as being HIV-infected.
Today… I’m still Josh. I’m still living. You still be YOU!
DID I expose anyone new? NO. (If I had, I would have immediately called them.)
IS my infection a punishment from God? NO. (Get real. Jesus and I are tight.)
DO I have to inform anyone? In Tennessee, only any sexual partner that I may have sexual contact with. Otherwise, I could face criminal and civil penalty.
AM I scared? NO. I’m conscience of this chronic-disease and I’m informed like never before.
AM I dirty? I’ve done some dirty things, but NO I am not dirty before being infected and now that I am infected. So, quit calling positive folks ‘dirty.’ I have always taken multiple showers a day. (I know green folks… hate me) I am clean. I am informed. I am HIV-positive. I’m still Josh.
DO I take medication? Not yet. Not sure when I’ll choose to begin. Right now, my T4 count is high. So no need.
CAN I still have sex? Duh. The disease didn’t castrate me. However, I have to inform any potential sex partner before engaging in sex. Honestly to date, I haven’t really wanted to go down the sex-road. However, not having sex is not a punishment I’m giving myself. It’s a choice I’m making about my needs right now.
ANY regrets? I wish I didn’t think I was invincible. Hindsight is always 20/20. But now, I’m able to meet amazing folks and make connections much deeper than I would have before. It’s actually quite inspiring.